Raise Anatomy

How to Ask for a Raise and Get It

If you’re thinking about asking for a raise, read this first: PayScale’s new “Raise Anatomy” report helps employees who are asking for an increase make all the right moves, moves that – based on our research – make you more likely to land the raise you want. The report also helps employers ensure that they’re making fair, equitable pay adjustments across their organization.

If you’re thinking about asking for a raise, read this first: PayScale’s new “Raise Anatomy” report helps employees who are asking for an increase make all the right moves, moves that – based on our research – make you more likely to land the raise you want. The report also helps employers ensure that they’re making fair, equitable pay adjustments across their organization.

THINKING ABOUT ASKING FOR A RAISE?

THINKING ABOUT ASKING FOR A RAISE?

Asking for more money can be uncomfortable. Even if you’re willing to negotiate, it’s hard to know where to start. To get the raise you want, you’ll want to be fully prepared for the conversation. PayScale has you covered: we’ve created a library of resources to help workers achieve a successful salary negotiation outcome. Over the years, PayScale has also collected millions of data points from workers about salary, demographics and job and company-related characteristics.

Recently, we surveyed over 160,060 workers to find out who’s asking for a raise, who receives a raise when they ask, why people don’t ask, and how people feel about their workplaces when they’re denied a raise. We’ve analyzed this information to help workers understand the anatomy of a raise.

In this report, learn the anatomy of a raise: See which factors you should pay attention to when you prepare for a salary negotiation conversation. Additionally, this report will reveal what’s likely to happen when a worker asks for a raise: Who gets what they want? Who doesn’t? What got in their way?

If you’re an HR professional, HR leader or a people manager, be sure to stick around too. We’ve found some insights that should make you think twice about how you talk about pay with workers. For example, we found that when workers are denied a raise, the vast majority do not believe the rationale their employer provided for denying them a raise. Their level of satisfaction with their employer goes way down, and their intent to look for new jobs goes way up.

Find out exactly what you should be paid Get Your Free Salary Report.

The State of Raises in the Current Economy

37 Percent of Workers Have Asked for a Raise

37 Percent of Workers Have Asked for a Raise

In our survey, we asked workers if they have ever asked for a raise from their current employer. We found that just 37 percent of workers have ever asked for a raise from their current employer.

After controlling for other important factors including experience, tenure, job type, job level, industry, education and demographics, we found that there is no statistically significant difference in the rates at which women of color, white women, men of color and white men ask for raises. In other words, no single gender or racial/ethnic group is more likely to have asked for a raise at some point than any other.

37 Percent of Workers Have Asked for a Raise

Don’t Judge A Raise By It’s Color

In our survey, we asked workers if they have ever asked for a raise from their current employer. We found that just 37 percent of workers have ever asked for a raise from their current employer.

After controlling for other important factors including experience, tenure, job type, job level, industry, education and demographics, we found that there is no statistically significant difference in the rates at which women of color, white women, men of color and white men ask for raises. In other words, no single gender or racial/ethnic group is more likely to have asked for a raise at some point than any other.


37 Percent of Workers Have Asked for a Raise

37 Percent of Workers Have Asked for a Raise

In our survey, we asked workers if they have ever asked for a raise from their current employer. We found that just 37 percent of workers have ever asked for a raise from their current employer.

After controlling for other important factors including experience, tenure, job type, job level, industry, education and demographics, we found that there is no statistically significant difference in the rates at which women of color, white women, men of color and white men ask for raises. In other words, no single gender or racial/ethnic group is more likely to have asked for a raise at some point than any other.

37 Percent of Workers Have Asked for a Raise

Don’t Judge A Raise By It’s Color

In our survey, we asked workers if they have ever asked for a raise from their current employer. We found that just 37 percent of workers have ever asked for a raise from their current employer.

After controlling for other important factors including experience, tenure, job type, job level, industry, education and demographics, we found that there is no statistically significant difference in the rates at which women of color, white women, men of color and white men ask for raises. In other words, no single gender or racial/ethnic group is more likely to have asked for a raise at some point than any other.


West Coasters Are The Squeaky Wheels and Midwesterners Are Too Polite

It seems that where one lives does make a difference on how likely one is to ask for a raise. Workers in the Pacific region (think West Coast cities like San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Portland) are most likely to ask for raises. Workers who live in the Midwest (West North Central and East North Central divisions) are the least likely to ask for raises. We’ve all heard the saying that Midwesterners are polite, the data suggests that there is something of substance in that expression.

Don’t allow your salary negotiation to fail because you didn’t do your research.
Be your own advocate by finding out exactly what you should be paid.

TAKE PAYSCALE’S FREE SALARY SURVEY


Don’t allow your salary negotiation to fail because you didn’t do your research. Be your own advocate by finding out exactly what you should be paid.

TAKE PAYSCALE’S FREE SALARY SURVEY


The Odds of Getting a Raise Are in Your Favor

If you were to ask your employer for a raise, your chances of receiving one is fairly good. Seventy percent of employees who have asked for a raise received one. Thirty-nine percent of those who asked for a raise received the amount they asked for. Another 31 percent got a raise that is less than the amount they requested. The remaining 30 percent did not get a raise.

But There is One Caveat…

The Odds of Getting a Raise Are in Your Favor

If you were to ask your employer for a raise, your chances of receiving one is fairly good. Seventy percent of employees who have asked for a raise received one. Thirty-nine percent of those who asked for a raise received the amount they asked for. Another 31 percent got a raise that is less than the amount they requested. The remaining 30 percent did not get a raise.

But There is One Caveat…

PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE LESS LIKELY TO RECEIVE A RAISE WHEN THEY ASK

In our data, we found that people of color are significantly less likely to receive a raise when they ask for one, relative to white men. The analysis controls for other factors that affect the likelihood of receiving a raise, like tenure and job level.

Women of color were 19 percent less likely to have received a raise than a white man, and men of color were 25 percent less likely.

*There is weak evidence that white women are also less likely to receive a raise, but these results are not statistically significant.

Given the size of our sample (over 160,000 people), this finding shows that there is a level of bias –whether it’s conscious or not — that is seeping into salary increase decisions and performance assessments.

“This report supports growing evidence that simply expecting people from underestimated backgrounds to ask for a raise will not close the wage gap,” said Ruchika Tulshyan, author of The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace. “Negotiation is a remedy that has worked for white men to raise their salaries, but it is not one that is universally applicable, particularly when bias is at play.”

For people who believe they are facing bias in a raise conversation, Tulshyan recommends a number of strategies. First, request a specific timeline when you can have this conversation again if your manager has said ìno for right now.î Follow up with an email to your manager documenting your conversation, including specific details of what your ask was, what their response was, and the timeline you are expected to follow up within. Collect data, officially from HR, or at the very least, from trusted colleagues about what the salary benchmarks are for similar positions at your organization. This is tricky and awkward, but the best way to drive compensation conversations. If possible, check in with a few trusted colleagues of color if they have faced similar obstacles. If there have been multiple instances of inexplicable obstacles to the advancement of multicultural employees, it is worth raising the issue with HR. If the situation cannot be fairly investigated internally, Tulshyan recommends engaging an external labor protections agency to investigate.

If you are an HR professional, head over to our Tips for HR section to get more information about the effects of unconscious bias on organizational health, and tips on how you can combat bias in your organization.

The Higher Up You Are On the Ladder, the More Likely You Are to Receive a Raise When You Ask

As workers move up the corporate ladder, they become more likely to receive a raise when they ask. Relative to an individual contributor, a manager is 42 percent more likely to receive a raise after asking, a director is 119 percent more likely to receive a raise, and an executive (those with a VP or C-level job title) is 142 percent more likely to receive a raise.

Spending more time with an organization also increases the likelihood that a worker receives a raise after asking, though only up to a point. Workers with two to three years at the same organization were just over three times as likely to have received a raise after asking, compared to a new employee.

Tenure

Times Likely To Receive A Raise Relative to Someone With Less Than 1 Year.

1-2 Years

1.7

2-3 Years

3.4

3-4 Years

3.0

4-5 Years

3.3

5+ Years

3.4

What should you do when you don’t get the raise you ask for? Take it as an opportunity to revisit the ask. If budget for salary is maxed out, ask about other parts of your compensation package. For more tips, check out our Salary Negotiation Guide.

BEST AND WORST CITIES FOR
GETTING A RAISE

Ogden, Utah and Honolulu, Hawaii top the list with 85 percent and 82 percent of workers receiving at least some level of pay increase when they ask for a raise. Tech hubs also do well – San Francisco (80 percent), Boston (76 percent), Seattle (76 percent) and San Jose (76 percent) all appear near the top. Gary, Indiana takes the dubious honor of last place. Only 53 percent of workers received a raise after asking, meaning 47 percent of askers were denied a raise.


BEST AND WORST CITIES FOR GETTING A RAISE

Ogden, Utah and Honolulu, Hawaii top the list with 85 percent and 82 percent of workers receiving at least some level of pay increase when they ask for a raise. Tech hubs also do well – San Francisco (80 percent), Boston (76 percent), Seattle (76 percent) and San Jose (76 percent) all appear near the top. Gary, Indiana takes the dubious honor of last place. Only 53 percent of workers received a raise after asking, meaning 47 percent of askers were denied a raise.

TOP 5 CITIES

Ogden, UT

85%

Honolulu, HI

82%

Fresno, CA

81%

San Francisco, CA

80%

Long Island, NY

70%

BOTTOM 5 CITIES

Stockton,CA

61%

Knoxville, TN

61%

Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL

59%

Baton Rouge, LA

59%

Gary, IN

53%

 


“You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me!”
Workers Don’t Handle Rejection Well

It’s painful to be rejected, especially when you don’t understand why. When it comes to hearing “no” to a request for a raise, workers feel like their employers aren’t as tactful or considerate as they can be.

Budgetary constraints are the most common justification for denying someone a raise. In fact, 49 percent of workers who were denied reported that budgetary constraint was the rationale their employer provided. However, there is an eight percentage point difference in the rate at which men and women were told this reason.

Disturbingly, the next most common reason for denying a raise was no reason at all! A third of workers who were denied a raise reported that no rationale was provided.

Rationale Provided

Overall

Female

Male

Budgetary constraints

49%

52%

44%

No Rationale Provided

33%

31%

36%

I Asked Outside of Established Time For Raises

9%

8%

9%

Not In Role Long Enough

7%

6%

7%

My Performance Did Not Warrant The Raise

3%

3%

4%

“That Can’t Be the Truth!?”

In this study, for those who were denied a raise and provided a rationale, we prompted these respondents with “do you believe in the rationale provided by your employer?” Of workers who stated that their employer provided them a rationale, only 23 percent believe their employers’ justification for denying a raise.Women are three percentage points less likely than men to believe the rationale.

What Do I Do After My Salary Negotiation Fails?
These crucial steps will help you reflect on what just happened:
1. Trace Your Steps as Soon as You Can.
2. Map a Career Plan With Your Manager
3. Know the Next Best Thing You Want to Ask For

Get A Detailed Diagnosis of What Went Wrong Here


Don’t allow your salary negotiation to fail because you didn’t do your research. Be your own advocate by finding out exactly what you should be paid.

Get A Detailed Diagnosis of What Went Wrong Here


“How About Giving Me a Raise Before I Have to Ask?”

In this study, we also asked workers why they haven’t asked for a raise from their current employer. Remember, 63 percent of workers in our study have not asked for a raise at their current organization. The leading reason that workers have not asked for raises is that they received a raise without asking (30 percent). The second most common reason is that workers did not think they have been in their positions long enough to merit a raise (29 percent).

Why I Didn’t Ask

Overall

Female

Male

Received Raise Before Asking

30%

28%

31%%

Not In Position Long Enough

29%%

28%%

31%

I’m Uncomfortable Negotiating Salary

22%

26%

17%

I Didn’t Want To Be Perceived Negatively

12%

11%

13%

Happy With My Salary

5%

4%

6%

I’m Worried About Losing My Job

4%

4%

4%

Men and Women Have Different Reasons for Not Asking

Of the subset of workers who have not asked for a raise from their current employer, we found that men and women reported different reasons for not asking. Men are more likely than women to say that they haven’t asked for a raise because they received a raise before they had to ask, or because they are already happy with their salary. Women are more likely than men (9 percentage points) to state that they haven’t asked for a raise because they’re uncomfortable with negotiating salary.The second most common reason is that workers did not think they have been in their positions long enough to merit a raise (29 percent).

Still not sure if you should ask for a raise?

Learning your value is vital before beginning salary negotiations. Find out what a fair salary is by taking PayScale’s Salary Survey.

About PayScale

Creator of the world’s largest database of rich salary profiles, PayScale offers modern compensation software and real-time, data-driven insights for employees and employers alike. Thousands of organizations, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, use PayScale products to power pay decisions for millions of employees. For more information please visit: https://www.payscale.com or follow PayScale on Twitter: https://twitter.com/payscale

How Should I
Pay?

When you get compensation right, you attract and retain the best talent.

What Am I
Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.